Felicita didn’t seem real to me at first, as if it had just appeared before my very eyes from complete nothingness. Suddenly I was thousands of miles away from Pennsylvania. I had been transported to Italy or Greece. Pillars rose up out of the trees, stretching towards the sky as if they were reaching for Heaven itself. I walked down out of the shade to get a better look. An expanse of water emerged, the majestic statues greeting me with open arms. Geysers of water shot up from behind them. To say it was just lovely is almost an insult. Felicita took my breath away.
Stone staircases traveled up to the very top of the hill. With each elevated level was another pool of water, complete with a single metal sculpture. At the very top was what could be perceived as a small vineyard. The leaves encircled and intertwined between the eves, a stone bench positioned on either side. There was a large metal and stone table set in the very center of it all. I couldn’t contain my excitement to begin shooting. I already had most of the places mapped out where I would bring my Wonderland characters to life. I ran back down the stairs.
The next 4-5 hours consisted of a whole lot of dressing and undressing into some incredibly difficult costumes. I needed to bring the characters to life through costumes, poses and attitude. The Madhatter (top), Sleeping Beauty (directly above), The Evil Queen (directly below), Fairy Godmother (two below), Alice (second to last) and Tweedle Dee/Dum (last) awaited their respective turns at wandering through these meticulously maintained grounds!
Most people seem to have the idea in their head that modeling is easy. Well, it’s not. The poses may look natural in the final image, but they required a great deal of contouring, stretching, and lengthening. I felt like I had been properly hit by a bus by the end of it! Oh, and the sun was beautiful but was not being my friend on this day.
While it was absolutely gorgeous out, the sun beat down hard on my face taking most of my makeup with it. At many points, my makeup setting spray had no chance of success. I had to lay on a marble edge for my Sleeping Beauty shots directly under the hot sun. I could feel the makeup melting right off of my burning face. I’m pretty positive a little spider decided to take a bite out of my face as well. Oh no big deal or anything, I just happen to be deathly afraid of them!!!
But back to the setting, what we learned was the largest Italian garden in the United States sits hidden in a lushly stunning valley just north of Harrisburg. A huge thank you to the owners of Felicita, the Anginos, as well as the head manager, Sue Berrier, for allowing us the time to bring my Wonderland characters to life! The grounds are the epitome of perfection and I was beyond honored to be granted the privilege to experience all Felicita has to offer! For any brides, aspiring models, anyone who just needs a really incredible place to do a photoshoot or wants to simply visit a living artwork and piece of history, Felicita is your place! ( https://www.facebook.com/FelicitaResort/ or http://www.felicitaresort.com/ ). I cannot say this to them enough: "thank you again and God bless!!!"
Stay tuned as I begin to post the images on my site, facebook, twitter, and pinterest accounts!!! Plus we also shot an amazing panoramic image of the grounds with characters coming to life!